Jimmy Gopperth reflects on his biggest regret from his time with Leinster

Jimmy Gopperth

Jimmy Gopperth has named the missed drop kick against Toulon as the one kick he’d like a second chance at for Leinster.

Gopperth is one of the longest-playing professional rugby players on the planet, having began his career with Wellington in New Zealand’s National Provincial Championship all the way back in 2003.

During his professional career he has played for seven different clubs across New Zealand, England and Ireland, and made a habit of replacing some of the best out-halves in Europe, namely Jonny Wilkinson at Newcastle Falcons and Johnny Sexton at Leinster.

The New Zealander spent two season at Leinster, in which time he won a Pro12 title, although he didn’t manage to win the Champions Cup during his stint with the Irish province.

Gopperth was speaking to BT Sport about the biggest kicks of his career, and admitted that he would have loved to have a second attempt at a drop kick against Toulon in the Champions Cup semi-final in 2015.

Jimmy Gopperth on his missed kick against Toulon.

“I loved my time with Leinster. It was the same as when I went to Newcastle, it was like I was following Johnnys around,” Gopperth said.

“Johnny Sexton left, and I’m coming in… The kick I’d always want to have again is the drop goal against Toulon in regular time before we obviously ended up going into extra time and losing in extra time.

“Drop kicks are always a pressure moment. They have to be so precise and I remember just watching it back.. I just felt like I had a lot of pressure on me and I had just come up and out of it a little too early.

“It just drifted off to the right side and it’s one of those ones where if it just went through the middle we could have been in the final.”

A brief but memorable time in Ireland.

Gopperth signed for Leinster in 2013 as Sexton was leaving after agreeing a two-year deal with Racing 92, although many expected that Ian Madigan would take up the role of the province’s first-choice out-half.

Instead, Gopperth often started in the 10 shirt while Madigan either started on the bench or at inside-centre, as head coach Matt O’Connor was a big fan of the New Zealander’s ability to control the game.

The two years that Gopperth spent with Leinster weren’t the best in the province’s history, as they came fifth in the Pro12 in 2015, although the New Zealander did start in the Pro12 final the previous year, in which he helped guide his side to a 34-12 win.

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